We recently chatted with Gloria Ching, CPA, CGA to learn more about her experiences working internationally. Read on to learn how Gloria’s designation prepared her for her career at Disneyland Hong Kong and Forever21 in Los Angeles, USA.
goCPAbc: Tell us about yourself?
Name and job title: Gloria Ching, Senior Accountant
Designation: CPA, CGA
Company you work for: Forever21, Los Angeles
Country and city you work in: Los Angeles, United States
goCPAbc: Briefly explain your role and responsibilities:
Ching: As Forever21’s headquarter is in Los Angeles, I have the opportunity to prepare and review financial reports for its domestic and international stores. By building a strong understanding of the company’s operation and background, our team prepares variances analysis for the leadership team.
goCPAbc: How did your accounting designation prepare you for your role and the experience of working abroad?
Ching: My accounting designation has provided me technical training to perform my role. Debits and credits are the same around the world. Even though “assets” are defined differently under IFRS, HKFRS and US GAAP, my Canadian GAAP training has provided me a solid foundation to build upon. I was able to apply accounting principles to learn these international standards efficiently. As a CPA, CGA member, there were many professional development courses that were available online which I could rely on for further studies. Aside from the technical aspect, I was able to develop my soft skills throughout my studies. From working on team online projects to writing exams, my studies taught me how to work under pressure, to collaborate in teams and to have open communication.
goCPAbc: What would you say is the greatest benefit of working abroad (both personally and professionally)?
Ching: Personally: As my husband had to travel to different countries for work, my CPA allowed me to travel with him and to work abroad. I have had the opportunity to travel to foreign countries to experience the various cultures and to meet many new friends along the way.
Professionally: Even though the accounting systems are complex in large multinational companies, the basic accounting principles apply when analyzing each transaction. Overall, working abroad has been the highlight in my life and has given me a new perspective in my accounting career.
goCPAbc: What has personally been the most difficult challenge you have experienced while working abroad?
Ching: “Change” is an exciting opportunity at work yet it comes with challenges. In larger companies, talent transitions are really common as there are constantly job rotations, organization restructures and new departments. I have been very fortunate to work with many brilliant individuals. However, my challenge is to learn from my team as much as possible each day before they move on to another stage in their career. I take each day as a learning opportunity to further challenge myself to develop new skills from learning more about the role, the company’s operation, decision making and even Excel tips!
goCPAbc: What advice would you give students and grads seeking opportunities to work abroad? Are there any particular resources that you are aware of that would be beneficial to these individuals in order to seek out overseas opportunities?
Ching: Obtaining a CPA is definitely my first piece of advice as it provides global mobility and recognition. The CPA education prepares students with real world accounting situations.
Head hunters are great resources as they are able to assess student’s experiences and local standards to provide guidance on opportunities to work abroad. Furthermore, students can talk to their employers to seek opportunities within the company in other offices around the world. Secondments and internal transfers can also help students to transition to foreign countries.